Access to Heritage Sites Jonathan Rix email@example.com What are Heritage sites? ? Castles Galleries Museums Old Ships Churches Palaces Old Houses Some sites have: Special tours Audio tours Art Projects Photography Projects Personal history projects Accessible signs But there is very little advice Museum Libraries and Archives Sensory Disabilities Inclusive Information 12 pages Learning Difficulties ½ a page National Endowment For Arts Sensory Disabilities Design For Accessibility 12 pages Learning Difficulties Advice is often general: Eg: Think about whether people can access your information Or Consult and involve new audiences in the production of exhibitions. Some advice can be quite worrying too: A professional consultant, whether disabled or non disabled, should be able to cover all areas of impairment, including those in which they have no personal experience. (Audits - Delin, 2003 pp16) 1 Some advice may be useful: The Disability Directory (Resource 2001) recommends the use of 1. plain english 2. supporting pictures 3. short sentences 4. clear print 5. step by step learning opportunities 6. active sentences without complex qualifying clauses Some advice may cause difficulties and confusion: The Disability Directory (Resource 2001) also recommends the use of: Attention-grabbing, human-story information No distracting background audio effects How can we give better advice? How can we give more good advice? Key issues from a Medical Model View Visual Functioning Auditory Functioning Response to Stimuli Short-term memory Language understanding and use Key issues from a Medical Model View Referential issues Motivation Numeracy skills Comprehension But is this research useful? It is all about limitations... It is about what people cannot do... It does not tell us how we can make heritage sites better Heritage site audiotour research Rix, J. (2005) Checking the List: Can a Model of Down Syndrome Help Us Explore the Intellectual Accessibility of Heritage Sites? International Journal of Heritage Studies, 11, 4, 341 - 356 Westminster Abbey Audiotour Comparison of the structures of 3 Audiotours Main Tour 1 Main Tour 2 Basic Language Tour Words 7801 8626 7451 Sentences 435 485 567 Mean Word Length 4.47 characters 4.43 characters 4.29 characters Mean Sentence Length 17.93 words 17.78 words 13.14 words Different words 1872 1819 1052 Duplicated words (% of 777 - 85% 768 - 88% 620 - 94% text) Unmatched words (%of 1095 - 15% 1051 - 12% 432 - 6% text) Duplicated words 6706 7575 7019 adjectives technical terms family names dates verbs with different endings uncommon nouns alternative words to help explain other older english words terms that are knowledge and context specific occasional site specific term I discovered that my audio tour...was better than the others... in theory! And I identified parts of the audio tours where you could ask: Is there a negative impact on focus, motivation and self- confidence of the audience? Identified parts of the audio tours where: Sentences that are too complex because: Too many words Too many ideas Too many characters Confusing directions Confusing things to do At best I could help the heritage sites know: Where to look Where to ask questions What is still needed is people with learning difficulties to go to heritage sites and tell them what works for them. The Heritage Project - Merseyside To assist and encourage people with a learning disability to access Merseysides culture and heritage sites as is their right. To enable cultural sites to become accessible to people with a learning disability and therefore benefit everyone. To create an intellectual access protocol that can be used in cultural sites everywhere. The Forum 5 groups 20 adults involved Meet once a month since January 2006 At meetings they plan and share findings Visits to Heritage Venues There have been at least 20 visits to venues during the project so far The World Museum (a few times!!) The Walker Art Gallery The Maritime Museum The National Wildflower Centre Speke Hall The Williamson tunnels Metropolitan Cathedral The Anglican Cathedral The conservation centre Lady Lever Staircase House The World Museum Hands-on workshop Explored the Natural History collection Could talk about the artefacts The support staff were surprised that workshop sessions at the museum are free Speke Hall Agreed free entry Went on guided tours Went around on their own National Trust say they will listen to research findings How is the research done? The forum has been photographing and filming to document our visits Project co-ordinator makes notes of individual’s observations Questionnaire for Support Staff End of session questionnaire Think about a visit to a heritage site... Did you enjoy it? What was good? What was bad? Think about things you saw, heard, read, touched... Think about pictures you saw Think about labels you read Think about stories you heard Think about how you travelled there Think about how people treated you Issues regularly identified by The Forum Pre visit information needed Not knowing what is available at a venue to use it to its full potential On arrival not being made to feel welcome Unclear way finding - signage Use of colour coding for directions Often needs lots of visits Info lots of times in small chunks Inconsistent symbols Lack of symbols in use in interpretation More and bigger symbols More senses being used Audio text at press of a button More use of sound Large text is needed Videos and music create a sense of place and reduce need to read Computer games are fun Enjoyed hands on exhibits Enjoyed people in costumes More seating The Forum Plans... An exhibition at St George’s Hall A film showing how they work Developing training for guides Exploring Tactile interpretation Pre visit packs Symbols and symbols guide News letter about what venues offer The Forum believes: A consultation process should be undertaken whenever new interpretation is designed and made for Heritage sites What do you think?
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